Computer-Assisted Research Writing in the Disciplines
It is arguably very important for students to acquire writing skills from kindergarten through high school. In college, students must further develop their writing in order to successfully continue on to graduate school. Moreover, they have to be able to write good theses, dissertations, conference papers, journal manuscripts, and other research genres to obtain their graduate degree. However, opportunities to develop research writing skills are often limited to traditional student-advisor discussions (Pearson & Brew, 2002). Part of the problem is that graduate students are expected to be good at such writing because if they can think well, they can write well (Turner, 2012, p.18) Education and academic literacy specialists oppose this assumption. They argue that advanced academic writing competence is too complex to be automatically acquired while learning about or doing research (Aitchison & Lee, 2006). Aspiring student-scholars need to practice and internalize a style of writing that conforms to discipline-specific conventions, which are norms of writing in particular disciplines such as Chemistry, Engineering, Agronomy, and Psychology. Motivated by this need, the Research Writing Tutor (RWT) was designed to assist the research writing of graduate students. RWT leverages the conventions of scientific argumentation in one of the most impactful research genres - the research article. This chapter first provides a theoretical background for research writing competence. Second, it discusses the need for technology that would facilitate the development of this competence. The description of RWT as an exemplar of such technology is then followed by a review of evaluation studies. The chapter concludes with recommendations for RWT integration into the classroom and with directions for further development of this tool.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Adaptive Educational Technologies for Literacy Instruction on 2016, available online: https://www.routledge.com/Adaptive-Educational-Technologies-for-Literacy-Instruction/Crossley-McNamara/p/book/9781138125445. Posted with permission.